Don’t get your hopes up with that bouncy stability ball and all of those endless crunches; they will not flatten your bulging belly or tighten your abs, and here’s WHY.
This article will explain why stability ball crunches will not flatten your stomach—because so many people continue to believe that crunch after crunch on the fitness ball will melt the fat in their abs.
Won’t happen. As a former personal trainer, I’ve been asked what is the best way to flatten the stomach, and do crunches really work?
The abdominal muscles—the muscles under the fat in your stomach—are what move when you perform crunches, whether they’re on a stability ball or floor.
Other muscles are involved too (the “core” group), but the primary movers are the abdominal muscles.
Abdominal muscles have a job: stabilize the spine (along with moving it). It doesn’t take much force or energy to stabilize the spinal column or bend the vertebral bones in a forward (crunching) motion, even if you hold a weight plate to your chest.
Even if you move the ab muscles for 30 minutes straight on that fitness ball…the amount of energy expenditure is minimal. This will not cause fat loss, which is what you need to flatten your belly.
(For a flat middle you also need trained, toned abs; flabby out of shape abs and other weak muscles will cause the stomach to stick out a bit, even on skinny people).
Stabilizer muscles are naturally small and relatively weak. They will burn only minimal fat.
So you have this excess fat in your stomach. How do you get rid of it? Certainly not by moving that area (crunches).
Instead, you must mobilize those fat stores.
- How do you shake them up?
- How do you force your body to withdraw from them?
You must work your force production muscles, rather than the little stabilizers. Your body is loaded with force production muscles, and they all burn far more fat than do the stabilizers.
However, the largest of the force production muscles burn much more fat than do the smaller force production muscles.
In other words, the muscles in your legs burn more fat than do the muscles in your upper arms.
To flatten your stomach, get off the stability ball, abandon the machine crunches too, and start hitting the biggest of your force production muscles: legs, butt, back, chest.
Secondary to that, work your shoulders and upper arms, but most of your exercises should focus on the legs, butt, back and chest.
You can flatten your stomach and create a more svelte waistline by doing barbell squats (even on a Smith machine), deadlifts, bench presses, dumbbell presses, rowing movements, leg presses and walking weighted lunges.
When done intensely, these exercises force your body to withdraw fat from fat cells—including those in your stomach!
This is why bodybuilders with ripped physiques have incredibly tiny waists.
Stability ball crunches will strengthen the abs and lower back. Period. Nothing more.
There will be no flattening to your stomach with this isolation exercise of stabilizer muscles.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.